Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Fool and His Money

[[H U H ?]] * Forget about Mark Twain’s storied “₤1,000,000 Bank Note.” If you really want to talk about uncashable currency, consider the news report about a confused California counterfeiter who tried to circulate $1 billion bills--despite the fact that the U.S. Treasury no longer issues paper money in denominations greater than $100. According to Reuters, U.S. Customs agents “found 250 bogus billion dollar bills while investigating a man charged with currency smuggling.” Forty-five-year-old Tekle Zigetta had already pleaded guilty to three federal counts of trying to transport fake currency and a phony $100,000 gold certificate into the United States, when agents searching his West Hollywood apartment stumbled across a “stash of yellowing and wrinkled one billion dollar bills with an issue date of 1934 and bearing a picture of President Grover Cleveland.” (Cleveland’s face, shown above, used to be on the $1,000 bill, when there still was such a thing.)

One agent involved in the case, James Todak, told Reuters, “You would think the $1 billion denomination would be a giveaway that these notes are fake, but some people are still taken in.”

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